Christine Stuart file photo
State Sen. Sam Caligiuri (Christine Stuart file photo)

As expected, state Sen. Sam Caligiuri officially switched campaigns Tuesday afternoon and decided to drop his bid for the U.S. Senate and instead run against U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District.

“I have been deeply humbled by the outpouring of people who have urged me to run for Congress in the 5th District and for the many citizens throughout Connecticut who have encouraged me to run for Governor,” Caligiuri said in a statement.

“As I have listened to their arguments in favor of each position, I have asked myself where I believe I can make the greatest difference for the people of Connecticut,” Caligiuri said. “I have concluded that at this time I can best serve Connecticut as a member of Congress.”

In his statement, Caligiuri said that even though he’s running for a different office, the principles and the ideas he had started to lay out in the Senate campaign remain true in the Congressional campaign.

Caligiuri is jumping from one crowded field of candidates to another and in the process may have angered some of the candidates that have spent the last several months campaigning against Murphy.

“The entry of new candidates into the 5th Congressional District race indicates that people are increasingly upset with the situation in Washington, D.C.,” Justin Bernier, the Republican with the best name recognition in the 5th Congressional District race, said Tuesday. “Ending the borrow-and-spend policies in Congress is the primary reason I entered this race eight months ago.”

“The nomination will be decided by everyday Republicans in the 5th Congressional District,” Bernier said.

There are five other Republican candidates vying for a chance to challenge Murphy in the General Election. Bill Evans, Kie Westby, Dan Carter, and Mark Greenberg will also be seeking the Republican nomination in the Fifth Congressional District.

Caligiuri’s announcement proceeded news that Republican Tom Foley is considering dropping out of the U.S. Senate race to run for governor.

“For an allegedly “vulnerable” incumbent, Chris Dodd may not seem like such an easy picking to the candidates running against him,” Colleen Flanagan, Connecticut Democratic Party Communications Director, said Tuesday. “In one day, the field of Republican challengers has essentially been cut in half, with Caligiuri and Foley fleeing for greener pastures, leaving a backbench defeated House member with zero accomplishments to his political name, a professional wrestling executive most notable for her dissemination of violence, vulgarity, and steroids, and a Ron Paul acolyte.”

As for Caligiuri’s change of heart regarding the U.S. Senate campaign, Flanagan said,“Sam Caligiuri is shopping around for a campaign to run like most people shop around for the best deal on a used car.”

“In the last two weeks, he’s talked about running for U.S. Senate, Congress, and Governor. It’s clear Caligiuri is more interested in personal political advancement than solving the problems Connecticut residents are grappling with every day,” Flanagan.